After Chipotle, General Mills, More Sound Alarm on Food Supply Chain Issues, USDA Invests $4 Billion

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Welcome to the Thomas Index Report for the week of June 28th.

We’ve talked over the last few weeks about the impact of recent supply chain disruptions on a range of industries, but the effects have been especially noticeable in the food supply chain. I’m sure you all still remember the empty shelves during the height of the pandemic last year, but even today we’re still seeing lingering impacts of these disruptions, particularly in meat availability. Major food brands like General Mills and Campbell Soup, and even restaurant chains like Chipotle, are noting that these disruptions, combined with rising transportation costs and an increase in labor expenses, are driving prices up as product availability grows increasingly tight. 

Recognizing these challenges, the USDA announced earlier this month that it’s investing more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains specifically related to food production and distribution. The Department also announced the creation of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which will aim to provide solutions to supply chain challenges nationwide as the country continues to reopen following the pandemic. 

A spokesperson for the USDA said, "The food system didn’t break, but it did break down and we must work to prevent that from happening again."

We’re seeing these food sourcing trends clearly reflected in the recent activity on the Thomasnet.com platform. Sourcing for spices is up 224% year over year, while searches for herbs are up 390% over last quarter averages. Procurement professionals in the food and beverage sector are also looking for sauces, up 122% over last quarter, food contract manufacturing providers, up 159% over last quarter, and foodservice equipment, up 96% over last year. 

I’m Tony Uphoff, and this is the Thomas Index Report.

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